FBI warns RSNA attendees about the threat of radiation theft from a health facility

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FBI warns RSNA attendees about the threat of radiation theft from a health facility

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | December 06, 2016
Business Affairs Risk Management RSNA

"If it comes from a medical source, the hospital is going to get part of the blame," Simmons said, raising the specter of a media frenzy around any incident involving stolen material.

Simmons and his Department of Energy colleague, staff scientist Frank Moore, recounted their experience identifying nuclear medicine patients at major sporting events, such as the recent Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Chicago. The agencies routinely set-up radiation detection screening at sporting and other major events that attract tens of thousands of spectators.

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They related several examples of patients who were stopped when they triggered the detectors.

Simmons advised that all radiation treatment centers educate their patients about this issue. He also suggested providing their patients with letters stating they were undergoing treatment, that the patient can present when traveling and attending public events, if need be. Several audience members indicated that this was standard operating procedure at their facility.

In the end, diligence by clinical providers is the key to protecting radioactive materials.

"People want to use this stuff," he said. "Terrorists are mad, angry, and disgruntled people."

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